Thursday, January 26, 2012

Infallible Authority, Chapter Nineteen

Revelation for All
by J.J. Dewey
(This is the final installment of "Infallible Authority." To read the previous chapter, click here. To start this series at the beginning, click here.)

In pointing out that the Church is out of its proper order and that the Lord could call prophets outside the general authorities of the Church to call it to repentance, several objections are brought up. The main objection is the belief that God will only speak to the Church as a whole through one man - the president. This belief is based on a revelation to Joseph Smith:
 “All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy BY REVELATION and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom THIS POWER and the keys of this Priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.” (D&C 132:7)
Does it say anywhere in this scripture that this “one” appointed is the only one that can call the Church to repentance through revelation?

No, it does not.

Then what does it say for sure? It says that there is only “one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this Priesthood are conferred.” Now we must ask what keys and power are referred to here? It is plainly answered by the scripture itself. We are clearly told that “this power” is the power to seal “by the Holy Spirit of Promise.” And what sort of power is this?

Does it have anything to do with receiving revelation on the mysteries of the kingdom?


When this One Anointed receives this power, he then has the privilege of receiving personal consultation from the Holy Ghost as to what associations and covenants can be sealed to be made valid in the celestial world. Since the actual personage representing the Holy Ghost can only be one place at one time (even though his influence is universal), and also for the sake of order, this power is only given to one person at a time.

The scripture furthermore does not indicate who would hold this power after the death of Joseph Smith, but it does say that Joseph holds “this power in the last days” almost as if they would belong to him throughout the dispensation. It is written that there is never but one on the earth at a time who holds this power. It does not say that there always has to be one here. Even though Joseph passed the keys of the kingdom on to the twelve apostles and also the members of the Council of Fifty, and possibly others, there is no indication that these particular keys of sealing were ever passed on. In other words, the scriptures indicate that there were certain keys the Lord reserved for Joseph to hold for the entire dispensation.

The early saints were told, “Rebel not against my servant Joseph; for verily I say unto you, I am with him, and my hand shall be over him; and the keys which I have given unto him, and also to youward, shall not be taken from him until I come.” (D&C 112:15)

Also we read, “Verily I say unto you (Joseph), the keys of this kingdom shall never be taken from you, while thou art in the world, neither in the world to come.” (D&C 90:3)

Even in the hymn book in the song “Praise to the Man” we find the phrase, “Ever and ever the keys he will hold.”

After the death of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young said, “Let no man presume for a moment that his (Joseph’s) place will be filled by another; for remember he stands in his own place, and always will.” (DHC 7:250)

Since we are told in D&C 132:7 that Joseph holds this power in the last days, it is most probable that the scripture was referring to certain powers peculiar to the keys of the whole dispensation. We do not have enough revelation here for a full explanation, but may see further light in the future. One thing is certain. The Lord does not put all His eggs in one basket and limit the gift of revelation and seership to one man. Brigham Young said that the kingdom could “stand while one member is left alive on the earth.” (DHC 7:250) If this is so, then any one member could potentially have all the keys necessary to build up the kingdom of God.

Another stumbling block is the following scripture: “Again I say unto you, that it shall not be given unto anyone to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church.” (D&C 42:11)

The authorities claim that this limits revelation for the Church to the authorities of the Church, but is this what the scripture says? No! It tells us that to preach the gospel for the Church and to build up the Church, one must be called by a recognized authority. This is only good order and common sense. Just as one who is not employed by a company is not recognized by the company, so is the unauthorized servant not recognized as a worker for the Church organization.

But, if one is not employed by a certain company does this mean he is powerless?

What can he do then?
He can do anything he desires of his own initiative that is within the law.
And what is within the law?
Quite a few things. Here are a few:

He can contact members of the company and give any advice he desires.

He can publish any ideas beneficial to any company in any paper or publication be desires.

He can write his own thoughts on how a company is not living up to its founders ideas or its potential.

He can create his own company if he desires.

The only thing he cannot do is to work in the name of a particular company without its permission.

People forget that most of the prophets who wrote the scriptures were not called to preach the gospel for the Church or to build up the Church, but they were called to cry repentance to the Church and to try to set the Church in order; or if it would not be set in order, they often warned the people of destruction. Just as anyone who is not authorized by a company can work outside of that company, even so have many prophets worked outside the authority of the church.

Lehi, Jeremiah, Amos, Isaiah, John the Baptist, Jesus were all rejected by the general authorities in their day, and none of them were “regularly ordained by the heads of the church” in their dispensation, and since “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever”, there is no reason why a prophet of their similitude cannot arise in our day. None of the above prophets mentioned tried to build up any church except Jesus.

Thus, we conclude that D&C 42:11 is an accurate scripture, but it in no way forbids the Lord from calling a prophet to cry repentance to the Church. It does not also forbid the Lord from making other arrangements if the Church is cut off. In that case the Lord has said He would seek “another people.”

One of the most powerful scriptures used to support the infallibility of the prophet is, “And this ye shall know assuredly - that there is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations until he be taken, if he abide in me. But verily, verily, I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him; for if it be taken from him, he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead.

“And this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments; and this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me. For verily, I say unto you, that he that is ordained of me shall come in at the gate and be ordained as I told you before, to teach those revelations which you have received and shall receive through him whom I have appointed.” (D&C 43:3-7)

On the surface here it certainly seems as if the president of the Church or his replacement is to be the only one that God will give revelations for the Church to, but have we not shown that the doctrine of infallibility is wrong whether it applies to a person or a position? For instance, we know that Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lehi, Jesus, and Paul were certainly not the president of any church; yet they declared many commandments and revelations. If God is an unchanging God in his principles, then how could the above quoted scripture be true?

First we need to study the historical background of this scripture. Just before the revelation was received, there came a woman among the saints named Hubble who claimed to be a prophetess and said that the Lord had revealed that she was to be a teacher in the Church. Apparently, she taught a number of things contrary to the revelations through Joseph Smith. The saints knew that both Mrs. Hubble and Joseph could not be right, so the revelation was given as an explanation. First they were told that “There is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations, if he abide in me. But verily, verily, I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him.” (verses 3-4)

What does this tell us? Simply that as long as Joseph (or possibly his successor) abide in the Lord, then he will be the one appointed to receive revelations. Has anyone ever stopped to consider what the Lord would do if the president did not abide in the Lord? The president of the Church has no promise if he does not abide in the Lord.

We are also told that “none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him.” (The Lord’s Anointed) Mrs. Hubble was not appointed to receive revelations through the Prophet Joseph. As far as we know, she was not even a member of the Church. Who is appointed to receive revelations through the president of the Church then? The scriptures give the answer as before mentioned: “And again, the elders, priests and teachers of this Church shall teach the principles of my gospel ... And as ye shall lift up your voices by the Comforter, ye shall speak and prophesy as seemeth me good; for behold the comforter knoweth all things... .” (D&C 42:12 & 16-17)

Indirectly, the elders, priests and teachers are appointed through the president of the Church; thus the Lord is consistent when He commands them to prophesy to the Church. Mrs. Hubble, however, received no such appointment.

Thus, we see that anyone in the church who is a “teacher,” “priest” or Elder can prophesy to the church. At the time I wrote the first draft of this book (1978) I was an elder in the church and thus had authority to speak to the church through the Comforter as “seemeth…good.”

If one speaks by the power of the Holy Ghost and is excommunicated, can God then continue to honor his authority?

He can for the rights of the Priesthood are “inseparably connected with the powers of heaven” not the powers of the church.

David Whitmer names many elders who received revelation: “I could give you the names of many who gave great prophecies which came to pass. I will name a few: Brothers Ziba Peterson, Hiram Page, Oliver Cowdery, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Peter Whitmer, Christian Whitmer, John Whitmer, myself, and many others had the gift of prophesy.” (An Address to ALL Believers in Christ, by David Whitmer, p. 32)

Were these individuals out of order for what they did? Verily, no.

The scripture continues, “For if it be taken from him, he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead.”

This is a somewhat deceiving scripture for the Church tends to believe that the president of the Church could not be astray because if he were, he would have to appoint someone else to take his place and since he has not done this, then all must be in order. But again, is this what the scripture says? No, it does not.

Then what does it say? It says that if the gift is “taken from him [evidently because of transgression], he shall not have power.” This scripture surely gives evidence that the gift has been taken from the president of the Church for he certainly does not have the “power” spoken of. It has been over 100 years since this “power” of revelation has been manifest through the president of the Church. Of course, some think there was revelation in 1978 concerning the Priesthood, but there was no revelation written that we know of, only an “Official Declaration” of the First Presidency.

Is it not evident that the gift of revelation has been taken? The only avenue of belief available to those who insist on blindly clinging to their faith is that the president is receiving all kinds of revelations in secret of which the lowly members are not aware.

We are further told that once this gift has been taken, that the only power the anointed one will have is to I “appoint another in his stead.” At this point, this rejected prophet would have only one power from God and that is to “appoint another”. But does the scripture say that this other one has to be appointed through him? What would happen if a prophet was rejected and he lost the spirit of revelation and he decided that he did not want to appoint another to take his place? Can you imagine the humility it would take to confess before the whole Church that God had rejected you and that you were to appoint another to take your place? Most men, once they are rejected of God, would not have this humility, but would try to keep their position for the glory of the world.

If this happened, would God’s hands be tied, or would He take the man’s free agency away and force him to appoint another? No! God also has power to appoint another as He did with Brigham Young. Joseph Smith had several persons in mind to appoint to succeed him and several claims were made to ordinations and letters to that effect received, but when the chips were down, God showed His approval of Brigham Young by giving him the miraculous appearance of Joseph Smith before the Saints. Brigham Young was not selected by Joseph Smith, but by God; but on the other hand, he was indirectly appointed to this gift because he was an elder in the church.

Concerning this one who is appointed, the Lord said: “He that is ordained of me shall come in at the gate and be ordained as I have told you, before, to teach those revelations which you have received and shall receive through him whom I have appointed.” (D&C 43:7)

This scripture gives us three things to watch for in the one appointed to receive revelations for the church:

(1) He will come in at the gate. What does that mean? Concerning the “gate”, Nephi says: “The Keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there... for he cannot be deceived.” (2 Nephi 9:41) Since the Keeper of the gate is the Christ and He employs “no servant”, then it is obvious that the president of the Church cannot be the gate. Christ, who is the Keeper of the gate, who alone cannot be deceived, decides to whom to give revelations.

(2) He will be “ordained as I have told you.” Indeed, I have been ordained as the LDS scriptures prescribe and only the keeper of the gate can undo this ordination. Millions of people in the Church fulfill this requirement.

(3) He will “teach those revelations which you [Joseph Smith] have received.” This is the third grand key to finding the one anointed. We must ask, Does this one anointed teach the revelations of Joseph Smith as well as the other scriptures, or does he ignore them and teach contrary to them – doctrines of men, not confirmed by the Holy Spirit?

Those who support the doctrine of the infallibility of the position of the president of the Church usually cease quoting at verse seven, yet an important commandment and warning is given immediately after:
“And now behold, I give unto you a commandment, that when ye are assembled together, ye instruct and edify each other, that ye may know how to act and direct my Church, how to act upon the points of my law and commandments ... . That inasmuch as ye do this, glory shall be added to the kingdom which ye have received. Inasmuch as ye do it not, it shall be taken, even that which ye have received.” (D&C 43:8 & 10)
What would be taken if the church does not act correctly “upon the points of my law and commandments?” The kingdom, the authority, the gifts of the spirit, the key of knowledge- all would be gone. If this was the case, then one would not even be needed to act in the stead of the president of the Church for all would be lost and the Lord would have to seek another people as He has said. In that case all the scriptures concerning authority in the Church would be as void with us as it is with the Catholic Church.

A final evidence used to put down those who do not support the infallibility of the prophet are these words of Joseph Smith. He said, “That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is on the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives.” (DHC 3:385)

It may surprise some of you to know that I accept that statement as being true, for we are indeed told that Satan is “the accuser of our brethren” (Rev. 12:10), and anyone who follows an accusing path is indeed in danger of apostasy. The first sign of the apostate given here is that he condemns others. Let me thus set the record straight. I have no desire to condemn anyone and declare myself righteous. On the other hand, there are many active Latter-Day Saints who condemn those who have been excommunicated without reason and thus they are the ones who have the spirit of apostasy.

The second clue in finding the apostate will be that he will find fault with the Church. Many will say that I am finding fault with the Church and thus we are out of the way; but if this is the case, how do we explain Abinadi, Jeremiah, Lehi, John the Baptist, Jesus and others who found fault with the churches in their day? Were they apostatizing? No, of course not. Neither were they finding fault. The word of God which was written, and also the revelations from God to them was what found the fault. In other words, it was not man that found the fault; it was the word of God.

The true saint is not an accuser by nature, but he wants to follow the revelations of God; and if something goes against those revelations, then he must eventually speak out when moved upon by the Holy Spirit. Until he is moved upon by the Holy Spirit, he will generally keep the knowledge of the error to himself.

On the other hand, the apostate finds fault with the Church, government, friends, businesses, etc not because he is moved upon by the Holy Spirit, or has studied the scriptures, but merely because they are not doing what he personally wants according to his emotional desires. He then begins to accuse his brethren and the main object of his accusations will be those who possess the greatest light.

Before Curtis and I were excommunicated, we did not find fault with the Church. Even though the scriptures did, we did not even promote this idea. We each had over a half dozen jobs and were receiving no complaints from anyone. On the other hand, many steadfast members of the Church are constantly finding unwarranted fault with their leaders and Church organization; yet when it comes time for the temple recommend, they say they support the brethren. These brethren who are the true accusers are the first ones to defame the character of the one who truly arises and speaks or writes by the Spirit of God. They will be the first to call such a man a fault-finder.

The third clue to apostasy is that he will think that he himself is righteous. Interestingly Joseph Smith confessed to many of his follies and the Lord chews him out in numerous revelations. He once told a group of Saints that he was not a righteous man. Have you heard any of the present authorities say that they were not righteous? Have you heard any of them confess their sins?

On the other hand, the Church encourages the idea that only the most righteous ever become general authorities. I have certainly never heard a talk to refute this attitude.

Isaiah discussed the fate of the true apostate that Joseph Smith had in mind: “The scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of naught.” (Isa. 29:20-21)

If I, or anyone else “reproveth in the gate,” then they that rise up to condemn and lay a snare are the true accusers or apostates, for he that reproveth in the gate is he that reproves by the power of the Holy One of Israel. A reprover has an entirely different attitude than an “accuser of the brethren.”

No matter how many excuses we make, it does not deny the fact that almost every prophet God has called in the past was not recognized by the authorities of the day. Why would the case be any different today? The Lord’s words to the early saints apply even more so toward us: “And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received - which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.” (D&C 84:54- 56)

Think for a moment - could this scripture yet apply to the Church today, but more so? You haven’t heard of a revelation lately stating the Lord’s opinion of the Church, have you? If you want the word of the Lord on the subject, you’ll have to get it by personal revelation, for you will not receive it through the present heads of the Church.

In almost every age authorities have tried to garner power and special privileges to themselves to the exclusion of the common man so such a man would have to depend upon them for light, giving the authority a greater feeling of importance. However, the more the authorities claim the gifts for themselves, the less of the gifts we see manifest, and we see that God honors the common man more than the authority. This type of blundering was the basis of the foundation of the great and abominable church, which thing we need to be very wary of today, for the scriptures teach that God wants us all to be prophets, seers and revelators.

It is the Lord’s plan that “every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world.” (D&C 1:20) It is the authorities’ plan that only they can do so; yet in denying others, themselves they shut the gate, for in the New Testament church, there were numerous prophets who were not members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. We are told, “And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. And there stood up one of them named Agabus (not one of the apostles), and signified by the spirit that there should be a great dearth throughout all the world.” (Acts 11:27-28) Today, the church would consider it out of order for anyone outside of the First Presidency to make such a prophecy.

Also we find, “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; such as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen (Acts 13:1)
These men were all called prophets, but three of them were not apostles. Where are the corresponding prophets in the Church today? Verily, they are out there unrecognized.

Joseph Smith said, “We may look for frequent revelations ... in the Church of Christ,” and then added that, “When the head is sick, the whole body is faint.” (DHC 2:146) Does this mean that if we do not see frequent revelations, then the head is sick? That certainly seems to be the implied meaning. Thus the whole body is sick and there is a famine of spiritual gifts throughout the Church.

Why can’t we be like the early Nephites - “And there were many among us who have many revelations, for they are not all stiff-necked.” (Jarom, verse 4)

Why cannot we follow the admonition of Peter: “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.” (I Peter 4:11) The scriptures tell us that the “oracles for the whole church” are the First Presidency. (D&C 124:126; also see 90:4-5) Therefore Peter, in telling us to speak as the oracles, commands us to speak with the same authority as the First Presidency. Many people have been excommunicated for trying to follow the commandment of Peter.

When Lehi was yet in the land of Jerusalem, he explained where he received his authority to prophesy: “And the Holy Ghost giveth authority that I should speak these things, and deny them not.” (I Nephi 11:22)

When Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith, he quoted him some interesting verses from Joel and told him the fulfillment was not yet, but soon to be. Moroni quoted: “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. Also upon the servants and handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.” (Joel 2:28-29)

Many people say that you have to receive the laying on of hands to be a prophet, but here we see that even daughters and handmaids will prophecy, and where is the ordinance to ordain them? Where are the lady prophets in the Church today? They were even around in the New Testament times. The lady Anna was such a woman. (See Luke 2: 36-38) Lady prophets are mentioned numerous times in the Old Testament, but if one were to appear today to fulfill the prophecy of Joel, she would be cut off.

That this is in perfect order is illustrated by Alma: “And now, he imparteth his word by angels unto men, yea, not only men but women also. Now this is not all; little children do have words given unto them many times which confound the wise and the learned.” (Alma 32:23)

Joseph Smith added that “many of which (revelations and mysteries) are to be poured down from heaven upon the heads of babes; yea, upon the weak, obscure and despised ones of the earth.” (DHC 3:296)
The Lord commanded to the “elders, priests and teachers of this church ... ye shall lift up your voices by the comforter, ye shall speak and prophesy as seemeth me good.” (D&C 42:12 & 16)

It is interesting that this commandment for the teachers to prophesy comes right after D&C 42:11 which scripture is used to suppress prophesy in the Church. Think of what the reaction would be today if a mere obscure teacher rose up and prophesied as he is commanded to do in the scripture!

Speaking of those small and great who are faithful, the Lord promises:
 “And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom. Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even things of many generations. And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught. For by my Spirit I will enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will - yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man.” (D&C 76:7-10)
Furthermore, we are told that it is not only the privilege of every man to be a prophet, but also to be a seer. Brigham Young wrote the following on December 27, 1841: “I met with the twelve at Brother Joseph’s. He conversed with us in a familiar manner on a variety of subjects, and explained to us the Urim and Thummim which he found with the plates, called in the Book of Mormon the Interpreters. He said that every man who lived on the earth was entitled to a seer stone, and should have one, but they are kept from them in consequence of their wickedness, and most of those who do find one make an evil use of it, he showed us his seer stone.” (Mill. Star 26:118)

Behold, the gifts of the spirit are not controlled nor should they be suppressed by mortal men, for Nephi tells us, “The way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the Keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived (as an authority can), for the Lord God is his name. And whoso knocketh to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches - yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, He will not open unto them.” (2 Nephi 9:41-42)

We are clearly told that God employs “no servant” (authority) at the gate and the Holy one of Israel alone decides who to give His revelations to. He gives them to those who ask, considering themselves fools before God. Yet our authorities today consist of men who are fairly rich, and learned, and wise in the eyes of the world. Such persons must humble themselves greatly to receive revelation from the keeper of the gate for He cannot be deceived.

Yea, the time is verily coming when the prophecy of Jeremiah will be fulfilled: “After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord.” (Jer. 31:33-34)

Brigham Young had this in mind when he said, “Is not the time to come when I shall not say to my neighbor, know the Lord, for he will know him as well as I (the President of the Church) do.” (J. of D. 3:89)

Once people reach a certain state of spiritual progression, they do not need to be commanded in all things for the “law” is in “their inward parts.” Eventually all humanity will be full of the Holy Ghost and there will be no more priestcraft.

Indeed, the Lord does not want us to lean on the arm of flesh, for any man is capable of error. Yet in spite of all this evidence, why, O why do people trust the fate of their immortal souls, as well as their families, to the man who leads us? Why do they not question and ask God for revelation as to the leaders standing before God? The fact that a man appears righteous before men does not qualify him to be unquestionably followed.

If Balaam, an authorized prophet of the Lord, could be so far amiss that the Lord had to rebuke him through an ass (See Numbers 22), then why do members today rage at the idea that their prophet may be rebuked through a humble man or woman?

The Lord is the highest authority, and He can command His servants as it pleases Him for He is the Master of the vineyard; and who is even the president of the Church to question His doings? If an ass can speak the word of the Lord to an authorized prophet, then why not me, you, or any other person God wishes to call?

Remember Moroni 10:4-5.
Copyright J.J. Dewey, used with permission.

For those interested in more of the works of J.J. Dewey, he has compiled some of his mission experiences here, and there is an easy index to most of his other works here.  You can get a free CD containing his book, The Immortal, in both pdf and mp3 formats by going to to Or you can read it online right now here.

If you are interested in the key doctrine of The Literal Gathering of Israel, as were the early latter-day Saints, you'll want to follow this link.


Jon said...

"...God showed His approval of Brigham Young by giving him the miraculous appearance of Joseph Smith before the Saints."

Wasn't this shown to be false? All the journal entries elaborating on previous people's ideas and became quite extravagant.

Steven Lester said...

Sure, that's right, this guy also wrote The Immortal and then became a Buddhist, not that Buddha didn't have some really great stuff to teach.

Anyway, that miraculous appearance of Joseph was declared somewhere and somehow to be just another fable used to justify Brigham's reign over those claimed by the others at the time, like Rigdon and Strange and others. I think the proof was that "they" never found any record within any of the journals of the time of any mention of this happening; that instead Brigham spoke and others spoke and it was a hot day and grandma made some of her delicious lemon aid that day and boy, was it good. I kind of remember that the same argument was made about the appearance of angels at the Kirkland Temple and its unearthly glow at night, as being fake also. This would not surprise me in the least for the claim to be accurate. Nothing miraculous ever happens in the Church. It is such a bore.

Anonymous said...

Read Denver Snuffers Post 'Interpreting History Part 1 for more on this:

Anonymous said...

The daily diaries of Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards and Wilford Woodruff all had entries on August 8, 1844. None of them mention the "transfiguration" of Brigham Young. Nauvoo newspapers, Times and Seasons and Nauvoo Neighbor both covered the debates on August 8, 1844 and neither one mention the transfiguration. Even Orson Hyde's accounts written in 1844 and 1845 fail to mention the transfiguration. He did not begin to provide his elaborate account of the event until 1869, when he claimed Brigham Young's "words went through [him] like electricity. It was not only the voice of Joseph Smith but there were the features, the gestures and even the stature of Joseph before us in the person of Brigham.(JD 13: 181, 6 Oct 1869.) So, when I weigh the evidence, I conclude the story is merely faith-promoting, and much like Paul Dunn, bearing something less than an accurate retelling of the truth.

Steven Lester said...

Apparently, the Holy Spirit, which "knoweth all things" didn't know the truth either, or else He did and likes fictional stories enough that when He blows by somebody reading either this untruth or the Dunn lies or anything else that the Church declares to be true about itself, He'll just let anybody who actually wants the truth to sort of just hang in the wind, so to speak.

"Is this true, O God?" "Yes, my son". "Oh, cool!" Then the guy reads what is just above me and sees that it is NOT true. "Gosh, maybe I was brushed by Satan instead, since He is the father of lies. That Sunday School class I was teaching about this FROM THE MANUAL ought to know about this. I told them that the Spirit confirmed the truthfulness of this story, but now I know He didn't....UNLESS He did."

I am so confused. "The Spirit Told Me" is the magical phrase used over and over. Guess what? It is a CROCK INSTEAD.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Guys, Guys, Guys!

You are expecting infallibility from Brother Dewey, who claims none, and has spent the past nineteen chapters explaining why seeking infallibility in mere mortals is a fool's errand. Cut the guy some slack, will you? He was expressing a thought that not very long ago the whole church accepted as undeniably true because until recently none of us had any information to the contrary.

Please remember that these essays of Dewey's were written in 1978-1979, long before it was learned that the transmogrification of Brigham into Joseph did not really happen. Also recall that this myth was widely accepted as truth among all of us who were raised in the church. Dewey had no more reason to question the veracity of the story at the time than the rest of us did. He is an excellent theologian, but he is not a demigod. We shouldn't expect perfection of him where we didn't find it in ourselves.

Long time readers of this website will recall that I myself gave this legend a lengthy analysis and a link to the research of Richard Van Wagoner, which thoroughly debunks the fable that the assembled crowd saw and heard the visage of Joseph Smith when Brigham Young got up to speak. For those unfamiliar with the facts of the story, you can find it in my piece "Why Mormon History Is Not What They Say" here:

I considered omitting that passage from Brother Dewey's chapter above, but other than making minor edits for purposes of formatting, I didn't see it as my place to tamper with his original work. I instead assumed that the reader would overlook this minor point as we overlook other things we read that we have further knowledge about.

After all, it wasn't that long ago that most of us believed Joseph Smith was a secret practitioner of polygamy in spite of his many denunciations. Indeed, there are still many among us who cannot let go of that belief despite the clear lack of evidence to support it.

So I say, let that minor historical error go, and focus instead on what Dewey has to say that rings true as the spirit witnesses it to you. There's a treasure trove of truth in these nineteen chapters. Let's not let ourselves be offended for a word.

Jon said...

I just thought it would be important to have an addendum to what was written I suppose.

Quite fascinating work that Dewey has done. I'm going to have to go back and reread it while looking up the scriptures also.

If you want this in e-book format I can do that real quick for you and then just send it to your e-mail. Wouldn't take too long.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Actually, I'm glad you brought it up, Jon, because it shouldn't have just lain there without comment. I guess I should have addressed it in an addendum, but I just got lazy.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Steven, I think it's inaccurate to state that the author "then became a Buddhist." He wrote a book entitled The Lost Key of the Buddha that explained some of Buddha's teachings, but writing about a topic does not necessarily make one an adherent.

When I read that book, I was struck by how similar many of the Buddha's teachings were to LDS theology as I understood it. If Joseph Smith taught concepts familiar to Buddhists, does that make Joseph Smith a Buddhist, or does it make Buddhists Mormons?

Neither label would fit, of course.

Steven Lester said...

Well, you are right, of course. I was in one of my bratty flippant moods when I wrote that above. I did not read The Lost Key of the Buddha, so I should have just kept my mouth shut, figuratively speaking. But, I did read the first and second books of The Immortal. I didn't read the third or the fourth books because John really got under my skin. Although, you know, it would be nice to find out how Jesus can be every place at once, as NDEs seem to suggest. That bit of knowledge was promised to be revealed in the latter two books, somewhere. Maybe you could let me in on Jesus's secret, and then I won't have go any further with John to find out. I really grew to intensely dislike him.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I'm really sorry to hear you didn't like the way John was presented in the books. I found these four books to be incredibly insightful. Well, to each his own.

But you are not going to get me to reveal any hidden knowledge here, you scamp. These books are best read in order, as the information is revealed line upon line, precept on precept, as pulling back the layers of an onion. Read them out of order, and you'd get hopelessly confused.

I don't think any of us here are capable of understanding the absence of linear time, which is the way things are in the eternal worlds. At least I don't. I kind of like the way I recently heard Eckhart Tolle describe eternity. Eternity does not mean endless time; it means the absence of time.

And if you find the concept of "no time" difficult to wrap your head around, welcome to the club, my friend.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Re your comment above in which you write, "Apparently, the Holy Spirit, which "knoweth all things" didn't know the truth either, or else He did and likes fictional stories enough that when He blows by somebody reading either this untruth or the Dunn lies or anything else that the Church declares to be true about itself, He'll just let anybody who actually wants the truth to sort of just hang in the wind..."

I believe you've hit on one of the problems prevalent in the church today, including why we are allowed to just "hang in the wind," believing false teachings.

A great many of the beliefs we hold are held because these are the things we have been taught from childhood. Very rarely do we think to pray and ask about specific historical events we've been taught, especially if those events are faith promoting like the transmogrification story.

Add to that the mantra we've all been taught that "it's either all true, or it's all false," and we simply tend to believe it all to be true.

Converts aren't exempt from this way of thinking. Once a testimony of the Book of Mormon is obtained, that burning in the bosom they received from that inquiry tends to carry over in their minds on every other matter.

God has told us that if we want to believe delusions, he'll be happy to send us even stronger delusions, since that is what we appear to desire (2 Thessalonians 2:11).

On the other hand, if we expect the spirit to witness to the truth of all things, we are probably going to have to put forth the effort of asking about the truthfulness of ALL those teachings individually, and not blindly accept THIS ONE just because the spirit witnessed to us about THAT ONE.

Why else would we have such a large number in the church who unquestioningly accept the unscriptural hogwash about following the prophet, as he will never lead the church astray? It's because most of them have been taught that falsehood from childhood, and never sought confirmation from the Holy Ghost to find out if it was true or not.

I think Satan smiles every time he hears someone testify that the Church is true. If the "Church" is true, then everything about it must be true, right? If the members don't bother to actually ask the spirit for confirmation on individual doctrines, the adversary could slip in all kinds of falsehoods without anyone catching on.

The spirit engages us when we first engage the spirit. Truth sometimes comes to us unbidden, but usually we are expected to ask the question before we get the answer.

Joseph Dewey said...

I appreciate the comments the group has made on my writings.
Concerning Brigham's transformation, I wrote about that back in 1978 when I was still a member of the church and to write anything that would indicate that Brigham was not God's anointed would be a turn off for all the LDS I knew at that time. Since I wrote that, more information has come to light and here is my thinking now.

I do not believe there was a miraculous transformation but I think
Brigham seized the day and imitated Joseph's voice and mannerisms as close as he could. This had a powerful effect on the more susceptible members and thus some thought Brigham seemed to be appearing as if Joseph were influencing him. Most, however, saw Brigham's imitation(probably for just a minute or two) for what it was and thus didn't record anything miraculous as happening. Later, on reflection some did recall he sounded a little like Joseph and this gave the illusion life.

Steven Lester said...

I don't know about the absence of time idea, because if there were no time, nothing could happen, and even thought would be frozen, at least on the Macro level (since on the Quantum level anything can happen when you are a particle). Joseph said that eternity was one eternal round (the ring image), which meant, I guess, that everything happens over and over. Which meant, I guess, that I've written these words a billion times before, as well as thought the thoughts that created them. We know also, that God lives within this Universe, or else all of that Kolob stuff is total falsehood. Physicists know all about the relative nature of Space/Time and see their observations proved over and over, and on the Quantum level they say that there are 11 dimensions, 8 of which we can not see, and perhaps time operates differently within them, and perhaps Heaven dwells within one of them or all of them. During the NDE there is almost always some sort of transportation that takes place between here and there, whoever there is. And so forth.

But time itself must be present within all of these things, or else all of these things would just be frozen from the first moment, because Physicists have said that there is a packet of time that can be reduced down no further, something like 10 to the minus 43rd second. And that is where all of everything would have been stuck at, after the Big Bang took place. Time must always exist, although in another dimension its passage rate could be totally different from ours, which that quote from the Bible that says that one day for God is like a millennium for us suggests. Still, the passage of time for both in relation to each other. Always the presence of time. Always.

Anonymous said...

The quote above, said to be from Joseph Smith, about 'those who condemn others or who find fault with the Church or leaders are on the way to apostasy', does not seem to be in harmony with what Joseph Smith really believed or taught.

I highly doubt that quote really came from Joseph Smith. I believe the quote was tampered with & changed or words deleted, etc.,as so many quotes seem to have been.

The quote could have also been completely made up by other church leaders back then who wanted us to believe Joseph said that. Or Joseph also could have left out some important clarifications for times when others, even leaders, really do become wicked or when the Church really is in apostasy or going astray in certain ways. For surely Joseph knew this was very possible & even very true in his day & he even saw it happening & tried to warn the Saints about the Church's & many leaders's apostasy.

He himself seemed to condemn others on many occasions & he himself seemed to find much fault & apostasy with the Church.

He seemed to believe that the Prophet or leaders of the Church could very possibly do evil & fall & lead the Church astray & that many in fact did.

So that quote seems really contrary to his own beliefs & experiences with Church & leaders, to ever say something like that.

Joseph knew even he himself could & did error & make wrong choices & teach untrue things many times. And if he ever fell, it would be up to the members to identify that he had fallen & the members were accountable to judge him & everything he taught & correct him or his teachings.

So it seems impossible that that statement could have ever come from Joseph Smith.

But it does seem very likely that Brigham Young & other leaders could have written it, for it seems that is how they in fact felt & taught. They did not want the members questioning them or their decisions or revelations, etc. They wanted the members to believe that a Prophet couldn't lead them astray. It seems that they cast out anyone who didn't agree with their teachings or behavior.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I can see why you would question that quote's provenance, given that today we often think of "the church" as representing the leadership, and that Joseph must have been saying that anyone criticizing himself or the other leaders is on a dangerous path to apostasy.

But that's not what he was saying. In Joseph Smith's day, "the church" referred to the membership at large, not to the Bretrhen who set policy as we often think of the term today.

At the time Joseph made this statement, there was more than one member of the twelve who was expressing concern that some of the lowly members were lacking in the degree of righteousness they themselves had attained, and that others were not being sufficiently deferential to them.

Joseph was talking directly to those leaders, not the rank and file members when he said "That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with [members of] the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives."

Ironically, Church leaders today have used that quote to solidify their own power in an attempt to squelch criticism of their own usurpations, when what they should be doing is reading the quote in context and finding that it was addressed to men in their position.

I find this statement of Brother Joseph's to be quite consistent with his other teachings, and I feel the corporate Church(TM) leadership would do well to heed his counsel.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reply Rock. I have not read the quote in context so I wasn't aware that he was directing his comments to the leaders of the Church. That makes more sense. Thanks for the added insight.

Do you have a reference where I can read this quote in it's full content? Thanks.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Not off the top of my head, unfortunately, but I do recall it from my reading years back. Perhaps another of our readers here can lead us to more information on the specifics. But I do recall that he was addressing a group of the twelve, and not speaking to the general body of the saints, as commonly believed today.

Jon said...

It was in "The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith" found for free here:

On page 156 is the quote and 155 is where it says to whom Joseph was addressing (the 12 and 70).

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thanks, Jon.
I knew it was in TPJS, but I can't lay my hands on my copy right now and I didn't think the source of the talk was cited in there anyway. Turns out this online copy is better than the one I have, as it includes scriptural footnotes added by Richard Galbraith.

I've now found the original source of that address by Joseph Smith, which is in the Documentary History of the Church, Volume 3, beginning on page 382. In the afternoon of July 2, 1839, the prophet writes, he "met with the Twelve and some of the Seventies who are about to proceed on their mission to Europe, and the nations of the earth, and islands of the sea." The address was recorded by Wilford Woodruff and Willard Richards. Aside from his counsel to not find fault with the church, here is another pertinent bit of counsel directed at the General Authorities of that day:

"I...gave much instruction calculated to guard them against self-sufficiency, self-righteousness, and self-importance...and especially teaching them to observe charity, wisdom and fellow-feeling, with love one towards another in all things, and under all circumstances..."

Good Will said...

"Joseph Smith...said, “That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is on the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives.” (DHC 3:385)"

Despite his protestations otherwise, everything Dewey has written here has condemned others and justified himself.

Another evidence that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God!

Good Will said...

That being said, Dewey continues to make point after astounding point! He is right (about many, many things)! And his voice deserves to be heard.

I hope Mr. Dewey finds his way back into the Church. (We sure could use him!) Couldn't he just "shut up" and keep his "personal" revelations to himself when the Brethren ask him to do so?

Ironically, isn't that the same "advice" the Jewish leadership gave to Peter and others (after they beat and excommunicated them)? I think so.

Dewey is both a pariah and a prophet!

So I'll just shut up now. Clearly I'm in way over my head here!

Anonymous said...

“That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is on the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives.”

GOD is the biggest apostate since He condemns the LDS church. I don't see how this quote could mean what the LDS people think it means today.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Right you are, Anonymous, I can't think of any harsher criticsism than the Lord's when he told us in 1834 that we are all under condemnation.

And in case you missed it, I explained what Joseph Smith meant by that statement in my comment above dated February 6, 2012 at 7:01 a.m. Joseph Smith understood the meaning of "the church" in a way we no longer seem to. I suppose that's because he remembered the Lord's definition of His church in D&C 10:67.